[UPDATE 5:39 p.m.] More Schools Close Due to Norovirus
A norovirus outbreak closed South Bay Union School District last week and Eureka City Schools yesterday. Tomorrow, two more districts, Rio Dell School District and Fieldbrook Elementary School District will also close for the same reason. [UPDATE: Pacific View Charter, now Ridgewood and Cutten schools in the Cutten School District, and also all four of Fortuna’s public elementary schools will close Friday, too.]
According to Jenny Bowen Director of Communications for the Humboldt County Office of Education, “It is possible that there may be more closures…It seems to be evolving.”
Rio Dell is canceling its Winter Festival. Kevin Trone, Superintendent of
Rio Dell School District, posted on the district’s Facebook page, ”
We have seen an extremely rapid rise in the number of students in our schools experiencing symptoms of Norovirus. We have worked closely with the County Department of Public Health to determine the best course of action for our district. As a result, we are taking the precautionary measure of closing our schools to help stop the spread of the illness. The health and safety of our students is our top priority. This means that school will be closed on Friday, December 22nd. The campus closure will ensure the time needed to deep clean our schools before students return to school. Please feel free to pick up your child early today, however, we will continue to run our program through the end of the day.
This also means that we will be postponing the winter festival at this time. We recognize the importance of this event to the community and the students. When we know a date we will let everyone know.
School will resume as normal on January 8th.
UPDATE 5:18 p.m.: Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services offers the latest list of schools closing.
Due to a further increase in the number of students with symptoms consistent with norovirus, five additional schools have elected to close early for the winter break.
The schools are Eagle Prairie Elementary and Monument Middle School, both in the Rio Dell School District, Ridgewood and Cutten schools in the Cutten School District, and Fieldbrook Elementary School.
The closure of all five schools will take effect Friday morning.
This brings to 18 the number of Humboldt County schools closed due to a norovirus outbreak that first appeared last week. Additional schools are contemplating closure.
There is no cure for the highly contagious virus, which generally passes on its own within a few days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it cannot be treated with antibiotics, because it is a viral, rather than bacterial, infection. Drinking lots of fluids is recommended to replace those lost during the course of illness.
Symptoms include nausea, fever, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. Infected people typically show symptoms within 12 to 48 hours of exposure to the virus. Infectiousness is believed to last at least 24 hours after recovery.
Hand washing is the best defense. Wash hands frequently throughout the day with soap and water. Hand sanitizing gels and wipes are ineffective against the virus. Clean contaminated surfaces thoroughly with a strong disinfectant such as bleach.